According to Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco, between January and November of 2022, 18,4 million international visitors will arrive in Mexico via air, an increase of 8.4% over the same period in 2019.
Torruco also reported that the United States, Canada, and Colombia sent a combined total of 13.9 million overseas visitors to Mexico. These numbers demonstrate a 43.6% increase over 2021
More than 14 million air travelers entered Mexico at airports serving the country’s most popular tourist destinations, including Cancun International Airport, Mexico City International Airport, and Los Cabos International Airport.
Yet, Torruco’s statement did not convey the complete story. Although international visitors coming by air in 2022 outnumbered those in 2021 by 51.7%, the overall number of international tourists entering Mexico by air, sea, and land has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, as land and sea tourists are not included in the numbers he disclosed.
According to the department of national statistics, INEGI, 58 million international tourists entered the country between January and November of 2022, a figure that is still much lower than the 88 million visits Mexico registered in 2019 prior to the outbreak.
Yet, the country has continued a positive trend in the recovery of its tourism industry and is one of just a handful of countries that have welcomed more international tourists than in 2021.
While the total number of international tourists has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, the inflow of tourist money has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, according to INEGI figures for January through November: revenue for the period was US $23.4 billion, a $3.3 billion increase from before the pandemic.
The financial recovery happens sooner than expected: forecasts estimated that a full recovery in tourist expenditure would not happen until the end of 2024.
According to El Financiero, the increase in international tourist expenditures has been fueled by two major factors: travelers have been spending more over longer distances, and transportation has been more expensive.
Similarly, the average expenditure of international passengers increased by 38.5% from January to November compared to the same period in 2019. These values also surpassed data from January to November 2021 by 23%.
Eventually, foreign tourists spent $2.4 billion in November 2022 alone, above the $2.1 billion spent in the same month in 2021 and well exceeding the $857 million spent in November 2020.
In a year-on-year comparison, the country recorded a 16.9% increase in foreign currency intake from outside travelers, supporting a crucial industry for the recovery of the Mexican economy.
According to Francisco Madrid, director of the Anáhuac University’s Tourist Research and Competitiveness Center (Cicatur), the increase in tourism income also underlines the importance of the aviation business, which has performed well in recent years.
The UNWTO forecasts a “good year” for the tourism industry globally, “although nevertheless addressing several difficulties, notably as the economic situation and the persistent geopolitical uncertainty,” according to UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili in the report.